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Hi to all.

I finally put my hands again on BG/BG2 (in BGT form) after hiatus in 10 or even 15 years, so I don't remember much from my last playthrough (especially considering that I never finished it). My favorite class in D&D games was always Thief/Rogue (I just can't help from picking locks and pockets by myself, and I like backstabbing people :P).

So what are the best stats distribution for a Thief? Would it be affordable to get some minuses in stats (WIS, CHA maybe)? I'm not a big knower of AD&D system tricks, so any advice from the Thief profies would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.
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Nyktouros: Hi to all.

I finally put my hands again on BG/BG2 (in BGT form) after hiatus in 10 or even 15 years, so I don't remember much from my last playthrough (especially considering that I never finished it). My favorite class in D&D games was always Thief/Rogue (I just can't help from picking locks and pockets by myself, and I like backstabbing people :P).

So what are the best stats distribution for a Thief? Would it be affordable to get some minuses in stats (WIS, CHA maybe)? I'm not a big knower of AD&D system tricks, so any advice from the Thief profies would be helpful.

Thanks in advance.
Prime stat for a thief is DEX. STR for backstabbing. No need to go above 16 in CON. All the rest are dump stats for a pure thief.
You might consider playing a multi-class thief, as pretty much every class combination has some interesting synergies; here are the ones they have with thief.

Fighter: Better THAC0 and weapon specialization makes it easier to hit when backstabbing.

Mage: A mage's protection spells, unlike armor, do not prevent the use of thief skills. Also, invisibility (though you can get the effect through a potion or by having somebody else cast the spell).

Cleric: Sanctuary, from what I have read, isn't broken by some of the actions that break invisibility. (I think disarming traps *might* be one of them.) Also, Draw Upon Holy Might boosts Dexterity, which affects most thief skills.

Another interesting option, of course, is to play a half-orc; half-orcs get +1 Strength, and the difference between 18 and 19 Strength is huge (a difference of +2 to hit and +5 damage). Normally exceptional Strength (only available for characters who start as a fighter-type) would fill the gap, but as a half-orc, you can skip it entirely and get even better bonuses without having to be a fighter in the first place. (Note that half-orcs weren't available in classic BG1, but are available when playing it via BGT).
Oh, I forgot to mention that I'd prefer the pure Thief class, I always dislike multiclassing for some reasons (esthetical or role-playing, I don't clearly know:) ). And a Human, if possible :) I never could imagine myself as an Elf or all the more so as Orc or Dwarf :D
Post edited January 22, 2018 by Nyktouros
EDIT: When I was writing this, the previous message which clearly states the OP wants a pure class Human thief, was not written yet. Sorry about that.

I am (trying) to play IWD1 expansion and I created an Half-Orc Fighter-Thief. He is simply amazing.

STR: 19
DEX: 18
Con: 19
INT: --
WIS: --
CHA: --

INT-WIS-CHA is whatever is left.

However, since you will be multi-class (exp is divided into 2 Classes), your thief progress will be slow so you may want to consider taking Imoen with you and let her find traps/pick locks while your character focuses on staying in shadows.

Also, keep in mind that you may want to specialize in "correct" weapons if you are going to backstab often.

Weapons that you can backstab

Long Sword
Short Sword
Katana
Scimitar
Dagger

Q-Staff (only 2- handed weapon that you can backstab with)
Club (only other crushing weapon other than Q-staff that you can backstab with)

I usually recommend people having proficiency with one ranged weapon (Bow, crossbow or sling) since range weapons make BG1 a lot easier.

EDIT: Looks like slings do not benefit from STR damage bonus in BG2 and BGT. So the next part applies to BG:EE and BG2:EE. Thanks Hickory for the correction.

Normally, bows rule in BG but since you are a fighter with 19 strength, you may want to consider slings. Unlike bows, slings benefit from STR damage bonuses and 19 STR has an awesome +7 Damage. Would you prefer a bow that does D6 (aka 1-6) damage 2x per round or a sling that does D4+7 (aka 8-13) damage once per round?

Please, someone, correct me if slings still benefit from STR damage bonus in BGT.

Goodluck.
Post edited January 22, 2018 by Engerek01
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Engerek01: Please, someone, correct me if slings still benefit from STR damage bonus in BGT.
Only the BG2 'Sling of Arvoreen' and 'Sling of Seeking'. Normal slings do not.
If your thief will be on the frontline in BG2, then make sure to have at least a 10 or so in Intelligence as a buffer against instant death from Mind Flayer hits.
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Nyktouros: Oh, I forgot to mention that I'd prefer the pure Thief class, I always dislike multiclassing for some reasons (esthetical or role-playing, I don't clearly know:) ). And a Human, if possible :) I never could imagine myself as an Elf or all the more so as Orc or Dwarf :D
Hate to break it to you, but humans are probably the worst race in the game. Half-orcs have that 19 Strength thing going for them, and every other race gets bonuses to certain thief skills.

The only advantages humans have are:

1. Access to the Paladin class. This does you no good, since you want to play a Thief, not a Paladin (not to mention there's no way to be both, as the engine doesn't support it, and even if it did, the classes have incompatible alignment restrictions anyway).

2. The ability to dual class. This does you no good if you want to play a pure Thief. (You could, of course, dual class from Fighter at level 2, get weapon specialization and more HP, but still advance quickly as a thief (only being something like 4,000 XP behind). (With that said, this would cost you one level by BG1 end (which does matter somewhat, though you don't miss any critical multiplier) and one level by ToB end (which really doesn't matter at that point).

So, in other words, human is probably the worst choice for a single class Thief.

The tabletop games tried to balance this out by limiting the levels of non-humans, but that was widely regarded as a poor mechanic, and the developers of the BG series decided not to implement this particular rule (can you imaging the impact on ToB if they did?), and in any case, Thieves could still advance without limit regardless of race, so it wouldn't make a difference.

If you want a game where humans aren't the worst race (but not the only viable race due to level caps), maybe you should look for a game based off third adition (either 3e or 3.5e); there they actually balanced the races properly by giving humans some nice advantages (more skill points and a bonus feat), which is a much better approach.
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Bookwyrm627: If your thief will be on the frontline in BG2, then make sure to have at least a 10 or so in Intelligence as a buffer against instant death from Mind Flayer hits.
Actually, since Mind Flayers drain 5 Int at a time, 10 Int is no better than 6 Int; optimally you want an Intelligencs score that is congruent to 1 modulo 5..

With that said, there is a single use item in BG1 that boosts Int permanently by 1, and Mind Flayers don't appear until BG2, so 10 Int could work if you intend to look for that item and use it on your main character. (Such items exist for the other stats, including Strength (see my note above about 19 Str for why that's good).
Post edited January 22, 2018 by dtgreene
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dtgreene: maybe you should look for a game based off third adition (either 3e or 3.5e); there they actually balanced the races properly by giving humans some nice advantages (more skill points and a bonus feat), which is a much better approach.
Yeah, I plan to start NWN1 campaign parallelly (and I posted the appropriate question in NWN thread here already:)

And there's Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor also, I had CD long ago, now this game is unavailable anywhere, alas (safe the place whose name is forbidden, started with tor- and ended with -rents)*.

* - I mean places more or less convenient for a Russian not-so-rich gamer, so Amazon is not an option :P
Post edited January 22, 2018 by Nyktouros
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dtgreene: Hate to break it to you, but humans are probably the worst race in the game. Half-orcs have that 19 Strength thing going for them, and every other race gets bonuses to certain thief skills.
On the other hand - the game is more than playable (winnable) with a human pure-class thief. Especially if you're taking a team of companions with you.
You can boost some stats in both games, and/or get boosting items/potions. So really, unless you sabotage your stats, you'll be fine.

Play whatever race/class combo you want to -
Human thief will work.
18 dex (for thieving skill and other bonuses) and 18 str (for better backstab) are most important. 16 con lets you start with maximum HP. With Int and wis of 10 you avoid a lore penalty but other party members will have higher lore or can cast identify so it's not important. Reading scrolls requires 9 int, don't bother too much about Mind Flayers, it's only one monster type which needs to roll a natural 20 to hit you. 18 cha is nice for getting better rewards and cheaper shop prices.

So I'd go for the following stats:

Str:18
Dex:18
Con:16
Int:10
Wis:3
Cha:18

This only requires a minimum roll of 83, you should be able to get a better roll and distribute extra points as you like. Weapon proficiencies are most important, katanas, scimitars and clubs are not worth it it BG1, I'd start with short bow and a melee weapon proficiency (long sword/short sword/dagger/quarterstaff) and add weapon style later.
I pretty much echo what others have said about ability scores and race - unless you plan to dual-class there's no real advantage to being a human thief rather than an elf - elves get a bonus to Dexterity and some thief skills. So do halflings (with bigger bonuses to thief skills than elves get), though they also have a penalty to Strength, and 18 Strength is much more use to a thief than 18 Constitution (to which elves have a penalty). That said, if you want to play a human pure thief for personal or aesthetic reasons, that's fine, you can still end up with a more than decent character.

One other thing about race - if you play a race other than human, elf and half-elf then you won't have any romance opportunities in BG2 (except I think a male gnome may have one opportunity, but I'm not certain). That's assuming you're not using any mods that add or change romances.

Also consider the possibility of a kit (sub-class). The Swashbuckler probably isn't for you if you want to backstab, but consider the Assassin - your backstabs will do ridiculous damage at higher levels, but you'll have fewer thief skill points at each level so it will take you longer to build them up. On the other hand, single-class thieves (and bards) gain levels faster than any other character.
Elf thief can't romance Viconia, and I believe the Aerie is willing to romance a gnome.

I did enjoy playing a Swashbuckler, and it doesn't really have any downsides over vanilla thief if you don't care about backstabs. It runs like a Fighter/Thief multi-class, except with a heavier focus on the thief side than the fighter side.
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ydobemos: On the other hand, single-class thieves (and bards) gain levels faster than any other character.
There's actually a level range when Druids level up faster.

Specifically, Thief and Druid reach 6th level at 20,000 XP, and Druid will actually level up faster up through 12 level, which is reached at 300,000 XP for Druid and 440,000 XP for Thief. In particular, this level range includes the end of BG1, though it is worth noting that the XP cap is high enough for a Thief to catch up before the level cap.

(Of course, it is at level 13 that the Druid's XP requirements start to skyrocket. Yes, the Druid XP table is strange.)

So, in other words, your statement here isn't 100% true (though it is close).
After studying some AD&D-related stuff, I'd say, damn, you almost convinced me to betray my beloved native race and become a pointed-eared, pale and arrogant guy :P